MORGANTOWN -- Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins today announced Jamie Smalligan, a season-long starter and often criticized for his poor play, has lost his starting center position.
Smalligan, once known as a three-point specialist, had been shooting 30.5% from the field and only 17.5% from beyond the arc. The move comes just two days removed from a Georgetown loss where Smalligan defended well but failed to record a rebound.
Smalligan's replacement, freshman Kerri Kosten, is expected to immediately bolster the Mountaineers' inside presence. Though a girl, only 5'2", and both legally blind and deaf, Kosten brings a more physical style of play than the vanquished Smalligan.
Kosten first appeared on Coach Huggins' radar before the Georgetown game where she was featured in a Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.) article as well as the intro to that night's ESPN telecast.
"Listen, I know she's not your typical center," Huggins said, "but [expletive deleted], she's better than that bald ball of suck she's replacing. A guy that big and ugly should luck into a [expletive deleted] rebound once a game."
Kosten, 20, already a minor celebrity on campus, is being lauded for overcoming the challenges of being blind and deaf, both of which are considered disabilities by the ADA. Smalligan's disabilities, which include running and jumping, did not make the ADA list.
"The guy [expletive deleted] had the game of his life Saturday night and still only had 6 points and 0 rebounds," continued Huggins. "I always joked that a blind and deaf girl could out rebound Smalligan. I guess now we're going to find out."
Mountaineer players, when reached for comment, reacted favorably to the news.
"This is [expletive deleted] sweet," said sophomore forward Da'Sean Butler. "I know she's blind and all, but she's been throwing some sick no-look passes in practice. Most of the time, Smalligan just picks his nose. "